This is fascinating. The German Bishops’ conference has approved the use of the morning-after pill for use in Catholic hospitals for patients who have been raped.  AND, what’s more, the Vatican has backed them up.

On one hand, it’s a no-brainer: science has told us for some time (and it has become clearer recently) that these pills prevent fertilization and do not cause the abortion of an already fertilized egg. 

On the other hand, it’s a stunner, for these reasons:

1) It’s interesting to see the Vatican support the use of contraception at all, in any instance. These particular cases (when a woman has been raped, and therefore hasn’t willfully separated the procreative and unitive purposes of sex) can be logically reconciled with Catholic teachings on sex and contraception but, still, it’s interesting.

2) This stance puts the German Bishops (and the Vatican) at odds with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops which, despite the facts, maintains that these pills are abortifacients. 

3) It also undermines the lawsuits by evangelical groups and businesses (like Hobby Lobby) against the HHS contraception mandate of Obamacare, which (unlike Catholic complaints) are based on the (false) notion that, by forcing these companies to cover morning-after pills, the government is forcing them to pay for abortions. So the religious right might have to stop talking about Hobby Lobby as the “first martyrs under Obamacare.”

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